Learning to play from the musical mind can set you free.

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by BrotherBACH, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    Thank you all for you support. TM has been fantastic. I took a brief step back because I used to read and posted for advice about problems that were the wrong focus i.e., what mouthpiece, range, how to do slurs. I guess it is a necessary phase awkward, like having to pass through being a teenager. I remember one piece advice I read on TM was given by Rowuk. There was a moment in my lesson were I had so much paralysis that my teacher said: "What you really need to do is purchase a church hymnal and play these simple tunes, as musically as possible." I will try to be more present to help others who are going through the same things now. I also understand TM advice and the experts in a much different way now.

    I think that I am trying to find a litmus test question about the things I worry about: "Do you care more about playing music or the trumpet." If you love music first, the trumpet is only a means to an end and everything will take care of itself.

    I am very thankful to the people I have come into contact here.

    Best Wishes,

    BB
     
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

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    Great story, BrotherBach! Congratulations on your successful public debut!

    When it comes to worry, I have only one piece of advice - don't. It is a waste of energy and a source of tension. I must admit, however, that it is much easier said than done. For me it helps me to remember that every note which comes out of my horn is a testament of God's love for me.
     
  3. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    I get to be odd man out on this. Focusing on "only" the music has never worked for me. I constantly think about the mechanics of playing, mainly proper air support and tongue arch, intonation, volume, and style. What I find for me is as I start into learning a lick, a section, or a chart; I focus a lot on the aforementioned items. As I get those mechanics and fundamentals sorted out I can focus more on pure musicianship. If I start with "music only" the result is not good because I do so many things wrong.

    I assume I am in the minority here because I am very left brained, starting with analysis and ending with synthesis. I approach trumpet the same way I learned to fly USAF jets. Start with the fundamentals and science, move into art, but always keep the basics close by in my thinking. When my performance falls off--whether it is flying or playing trumpet, it is always because I failed to apply something basic. The way I get back to top performance is by focusing on the basics.
     
  4. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    You're not the odd man out in your approach, Blaine. Mine is similar, and I suspect many other TM members are in the same boat.
    Jim
     
  5. BrotherBACH

    BrotherBACH Piano User

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    I do not think you are odd man out. That is exactly the approach of my first teacher and it really resonates with me. He would always say: "there are no difficult problems on the trumpet. When there is a difficulty, it always boils down to a problem with basics." It is exactly as you say. He would start with a 40 minute routine to reconnect with the basics and make sure that things are working properly. Then, after a rest (maybe 30 min. I guess) he would have work on music. In my case, I took it too far focusing only on the mechanics. That is where my second teacher really helped to move me past this. The approach that he maintains is that if you try to play the trumpet from the purely physical side you always hit a wall in your progress. However, there are some things on the trumpet that can only accomplished when you approach them musically.

    I will give another example, I am not very good at double tonguing at all. I work on it every day and can do it very clearly and cleanly, but only very slowly. Then, one day after about a year of lessons, he said that it was time to work on some solo material and pulled out Trumpeter's Lullaby. I love this song and listen to it all the time. In fact, I know it well enough to sing it by memory "but" I have never seen the sheet music before. The first time I ever tried to play it was at that moment in front of my teacher. It sound as if I had practiced it many times already. It was not perfect, just a very good sight read even though we both know that sight reading is my greatest weakness. Even more fantastic was that the double tonguing was at tempo; it came out effortlessly and was fluid. Thus, he was rather surprised and asked if I had practiced it before. I said "no" I just listened to the song and sign it to myself all the time. And, he used that moment to reinforce his point. When I heard the music in my head first and only focused on the rhythm, the double tonguing took care of itself as long as I did not think about "how" to double tongue.

    Take Care,

    BB
     
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

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    This may be a bit late to reply, but addressing trumpet playing like flying aircraft, knowledge of the printed music is the map to fly by. Such is the only way you know where you are going when you lift off. Primarily, I flew RF86D Reconnaissance Super Sabre Jets in the USAF, and a few others.
     
  7. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Blaine, I know my stuff. In order to think about "the mechanics of playing, proper air support and tongue arch, intonation, volume, and style" at the same time is for me, tantamount to being able to improvise a six voice fugue. I focus on pitch, rhythm and style while playing, having let the mechanics sort themselves out in the practice room. I know how far out to kick the first valve slide playing an a in the staff, and it is different, depending on its voice in a chord. If you have to think about your tongue arch in a rehearsal or performance then you still have some dues to pay.

    I agree that at some point we do need to focus on the basics, but after enough repetitions muscle memory should be enough to carry us through while concentrating on pitch, rhythm and style.
     
  8. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

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    Was trying to play unaccompanied Christmas carols in a smooth, lyrical, clean, musical manner this early evening. I was recording my efforts, and then listening to and critiquing myself. It is clear; I "still have some dues to pay." Sigh...
    Jim
     
  9. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Ed,

    You are dating yourself! :-) I did get to the point in flying where I was so in tune with the plane that I would find myself making adjustments before seeing a change in altitude or airspeed, and consequently this parameters were nailed. Three dimensional maneuvering became very intuitive for me as well. I am not that far along with trumpet--hope to get there someday.....
     
  10. afp

    afp Pianissimo User

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    Oct 9, 2013
    Roseburg, OR
    BB,

    It sounds more like a "balanced approach" issue. I do agree that focusing on fundamentals with no thought to music is out of balance. Also, the reason you were able to double tongue musically was precisely because you had been working on that fundamental. Often times we don't see our own progress during our daily drills, but then find we have made a lot of progress when we use that skill in a different way.
     

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